How do you dog-proof your home for a new puppy?

The other day when Mom was out walking me (in fact I’m the one taking her for a walk. I just let her think it’s her idea. She’s kind of a control freak that way), a lady who owns a cat, Coco, asked Mom if she let me into the living room. (Apparently Coco is confined to the balcony area of their apartment when she’s indoors.) Mom laughed and said that I have free rein of the house. The lady looked quite taken aback. “But doesn’t the dog (hello I have a name!) get hair all over everything?”

Mom replied that that’s the reason she got a poodle, because we don’t shed. And besides, I’m very clean. She also didn’t let on that I can jump on her bed any time I want. I gave Coco a superior “So there!” look, although she didn’t seem to give a toss. Cats! Sheesh!

It’s true, I am allowed to roam everywhere in the house, although Mom closely monitors me in certain rooms where I have a tendency to explore more eagerly. Well, when you have bags of yarn lying all over the place (Mom crochets) who can resist having a rummage through?

Mom was quite worried at first about electrical wires lying around and placed most of them out of my reach. To be honest, I haven’t chewed any of them. They’re really not to my taste. She very considerately put some old shoes and slippers out for me to chew, and I did attack some of them (the smellier, the better) but nothing was quite as enticing as the house slippers on her feet. I went through a couple pairs of them, but really, the attraction has quite worn off. Some of her other shoes hold much more fascination for me, but dang, she has put them all in the shoe closet, out of my reach.

In fact, she has placed most things that might attract me out of harm’s way, like the wires. Oh ye of little faith, did you think I’d chew my way through them? Nah. I’m not interested in the toilet paper either, although that’s within reach. I’ve tried eating paper and no, it doesn’t taste even remotely good. Towels, now towels even though they don’t have any taste per se, are interesting texturally speaking. I love grabbing hold of a towel, be it from the bathroom, a floor mat or kitchen towel, and running with it as far away from Mom as I can. It drives her nuts!

When I was little (believe me, I could fit into the palm of her hand) she was afraid that I would take a flying leap through the railing on the balcony and land splat, three floors below. She got strong wire netting placed all round. I’ve never even gone near it and well, now that I’m fully grown, I wouldn’t make it through those railings anyway. (Hee hee, Mom didn’t know I was going to be plus-sized!)

Have I mentioned my, um, “accidents?” Whenever she’s asked how she house-trained me, Mom will proudly say, “Lola trained herself actually. Within a day of coming home, she knew how to use the pee tray herself. “ And that’s true, most of the time. Occasionally (very occasionally) however, I’ve had peeing accidents. On the carpet. On the sofa. And yes, on the bed as well. She thinks I do it on purpose, and can’t figure out why I do it when the pee tray is right there. She tells me that she’s read up on the problem and can’t find a cause. No, I don’t have a urinary infection, nor was I excited or frightened in any way. She claims it’s revenge pee on my part, sometimes, when she leaves me home alone, or ignores me for an extended period of time.

If you ask me, I don’t have a clue myself. It just seemed like good thing to do at the time.  She praises me like crazy when I do go in the pee tray, and even when my aim is a bit off and my pee ends up on the floor beside the tray. But I don’t really know what the fuss is. It’s just pee. When it happens on the sofa or bed, however, she goes ballistic and furiously blots up the liquid and sprays anti-stain and anti-odor spray all over it. She tries very hard not to scold me and it’s quite funny seeing her struggling to rein in her irritation. I just turn my puppy eyes on her and her yell just turns into an exasperated sigh. “Why, Lola? You know you’re not supposed to do that? Why can’t you just go in your tray?”

“Gee, Mom, what’s the big deal? All wiped up right? Now do I get a treat for having a cute face?”

Mom knew when she got me that it was going to be the end of her polished wooden floor and fabric-covered sofa. She’s also thrown out the carpet in the living room and rolled up her precious Turkish carpet in the bedroom. She tries to get me to eat my food in one area but I kind of like to wander around a bit when I’m eating, so there are bits of food lying around usually.

Mom was one of those dog owners who claimed at the start that she would only feed me dry dog food or kibble. Well, that idea went out the window soon enough when I refused to touch the stuff. I’ve trained her to cook fresh food for me, and also to vary the menu. So at any one time, I can have beef stew or shepherd’s pie or fishcakes. So you can imagine the trail of food all over the house. Mom has kind of given up wiping up every crumb. She just runs the vacuum cleaner over the floor every few days, and wipes whatever mess she encounters.

Mom’s a vociferous user of pet wipes. She wipes me down every time we come home after a walk, and wipes my mouth and paws after every meal. I don’t know what the big deal is about keeping my clean, but she says I have to stay clean if I want to come on her bed. Oh well, I suppose that’s a small sacrifice.

She also gives me a bath once a week. I’ll tell you all about my baths another time, but can you imagine my horror when we met up with some other dogs at the park and they told me that they have baths only every few months. Quelle horreur! Pardon my French but their BO was quite offensive.

So because I’m what is known as an indoor dog, and also Mom’s lap dog and sleeping partner, I’m pretty clean. Wait, have I told you about the time we spent at the beach and I kept diving into the sand. Not only was my face covered in the stuff, but I must have also ingested a few million grains of sand. Imagine Mom’s horror when she saw all the sand in my poop the next day. Clean dog huh?

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